Last night I rode up the hill in the dark backwards on an ATV, between Lindsay and Michelle, with Leeann on the throttle. It was a pure dust bath to say the least, making a second cold shower absolutely essential before I changed into my pyjamas.
After landing in Haiti first thing yesterday, I spent the remainder of the day unpacking, visiting friends, getting my head in gear for school which started today, celebrating Bridgely's 8th birthday party (seriously 8!?), and attending the evening worship service. It's great to be back.
As most of you know, over the past week I have been in Florida with my parents. They met me at the Fort Lauderdale airport early last week and we spent the past 7 days hitting up the beach in the morning, eating an incredible lineup of food daily, and stuffing my hockey duffel bags with treasures found between Ross, Target and the Salvation Army Superstore. I can't put into words how thankful I was for the chance to be with my mom and dad, and for the countless cards, gifts, and words of encouragement that they passed along to me from home. I know my thanks will never be enough to express how much your support means to me, but I can try. I am always overwhelmed by the love that comes from my Wainfleet congregation, and the sequence of events that have taken place since December has exposed so many others who have been tracking with my blog and lifting me up to the Lord. Thank you all.
Now that I am back in Haiti, I still find a lump in my throat in certain moments. As much as I know that this is where I am called to be, it's a struggle leaving the loving arms of family and going on alone.
It's a different feeling than I expected coming back this time. I had psyched myself up for a week of 'therapeutic crying', a chance to come away and let out all of the emotions that I've had to contain during these weeks in Haiti. And yet, I come back without feeling that significant 'release' that I expected. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an emotional time bomb ready to explode... The time in Florida was just what I needed to refuel and be ready for 4 more months of school, but the meltdown that I was gearing up for never happened. I am beginning to understand that my recovery from the earthquake is something that can be confined into a week of therapy. I can't cry on command. I can't express the pain. It's not just something that I can step through and be done with. I think I will carry this experience and the burden of trauma with me for the rest of my life. It's not something I can simply let go of because it's a part of who I am now. And it's okay.
It's been almost 2 months, but I'm still absorbing it all. Flying over the island and seeing the bright blue tarps spotted over mountains and villages was another reminder of the loss, and day by day I come to grips a little more with the effects. I appreciate your prayers as I continue to process everything. Pray that my heart would not be hardened in fear of too much pain or accustomed to the devastation, but that I may be repeatedly softened by what I see.
It was somewhat of a struggle for me to justify a week in Florida after witnessing such a loss in Haiti. I couldn't fully understand why I was the one that got to go away. This country is full of broken people... People who have nothing, and people who have nowhere to go. I felt a sense of guilt as I departed, thinking about all of the people who deserved this vacation so much more that I did. How I wish that they could ALL come along. And yet, I know I can't wish for things that I can't change right now. The only thing that I can do is pray that these abundant blessings that have been bestowed upon me would be in turn used to bless others. It's my human nature to hoard and chock the wealth up as if I'm entitled, but that's not God's idea. I want to choose to accept the beautiful blessings He has given me and pour myself out to others. Thank you for your prayers as I use my week away to give back to those around me, not just with material things, but with time, and with hands to hold, and with a heart of love.
I believe in the Lord's time, He will bring healing in my heart. He will bring peace to the nation. He will restore this island. 'He makes all things new' is a promise we are all holding onto. And step by step, day by day, we will be held fast in His arms.